If you’ve ever found yourself sitting at a desk for a long time or waking up after a night’s sleep, you’ll agree one of the first things you want to do is stretch. Not only is this instinctive, but it also does the body and mind much good along the way. In addition to these situations, stretching prior to a workout also offers numerous benefits. Whether you’re a weekend warrior or one who practices health and fitness each day, here are some reasons why stretching before your workout will produce excellent results.
Whether you’re a golfer, runner, weightlifter, or other athlete, you know how important it is to have a full range of motion with your joints and muscles. If a lack of flexibility is present, movement can become much slower and have less fluidity, resulting in an increased risk of muscle strains and soft tissue injuries. By stretching prior to your workout, not only will you decrease the risk of these injuries, but also have improved balance and coordination.
In addition to helping one’s body, pre-workout stretching also helps to rid a person of stress that may have built up during the day. As athletes know, tension can play havoc with virtually all aspects of a body, so it’s crucial to be as relaxed as possible physically and mentally. By spending 10-15 minutes stretching before a workout, your body gets a chance to relax and recharge, while your mind rids itself of negative thoughts and calms down.
Since no other person knows your body as well as you, be sure to take a few minutes prior to stretching to decide which muscles may need more attention. In many cases some muscles are much tighter than others, so more attention will need to be given to those muscle groups. For example, if you’re a runner you’ll be paying particular attention to your leg muscles, making sure your hamstrings are fully stretched and relaxed before starting your run. By focusing on certain parts of the body, spending longer amounts of time on each stretch, and including a bigger variety of stretches into your routine that day, you’ll have a workout that’s one to remember.
To help you achieve even greater flexibility prior to your workout, consider incorporating movements from tai chi, yoga, or pilates into your routine. Not only will this give your muscles a great warm-up, but they will also help relax your mind as well. In addition to these techniques, incorporate the movements you normally do in your sport into your stretching routine. For example, if you’re a soccer player, simulate kicking the ball slowly and at a low intensity, allowing your muscles to gradually warm up. By doing so, your muscles will be ready to go once your workout begins.
By using some or all of these techniques before your workout, both your body and your mind will be better prepared for an excellent workout.
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